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February 13, 1987

Treating a Societal Malignancy—Rape

JAMA. 1987;257(6):726-727. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390060016003

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A RAPE occurs every six minutes in this country. The articles in this series look at what is known about this societal malignancy and the ways that physicians can help rape survivors.

Statistics compiled by Women Organized Against Rape (WOAR) in Philadelphia indicate that the 1020 reported rapes in that city in 1985 represented a 12% increase from the previous year. Karen Kulp, executive director of the 13-year-old organization, says those figures don't tell the whole story: "Conservative estimates are that half of rapes are not reported. The Philadelphia community is concerned about victims getting proper treatment. We [WOAR] have pushed the process along by forming a citywide Sexual Assault Program, which convenes quarterly. Treatment for rape victims is now free in Philadelphia; this is not the case in many cities."

Barbara Rohne, RN, a staff nurse at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where many Philadelphia rape victims are brought for